Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  December 1, 2009 10:00am-1:00pm EST

10:00 am
french. i think canadians and the birds have taken hits, -- and the brits have taken hits, and the austrians as well in smaller numbers. but i think on the ground, militarily, they are more problems than they have solved. in fact, the areas that have been secured by french or german troops, what you're going to do is have them there talking to local leaders and so on, but when you want to go out to do terror, you do american special operations troops to do the raids and the real sold during -- and the real soldiering. host: the last question on the democrats' line from new jersey. caller: i would like mr. ricks
10:01 am
to address a number of issues. number one, isn't it true that we are inserting ourselves into an ethnic conflict between the passions and the south -- between the pashtun is in the south and the rest of the ethnic groups in the northern part of the country, which are the uzbeks, the turkmenistan's , et? the pashtun have been fighting for centuries against foreign occupiers. host: we're going to take the first point because we're running out of time. guest: the caller is correct. there is a real problem there with the ethnicity. and the belief with the pashtun is that the tajiks have been kind of lording it over them in recent years.
10:02 am
it is a problem that we have to address. i think sensitivity to ethnicity is really important, but i also think afghanistan can be stable and has been stable. it has been most stable when there is a pashtun rule in kabul. yes, you do 1 pashtun representation and even leadership in the government, but not taliban leadership. the question is, how do you get that? host: to read more of thomas ricks works, go to his blog atollricks. foreignpolicy.com. we appreciate your time this morning. a reminder, tonight, we will have coverage of the president's speech on the c-span, c-span2
10:03 am
and c-span.org. thanks for watching today. we will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] . .
10:04 am
>> again that starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern. check c-span.org for our complete coverage plans. >> the senate has started debate on the healthcare bill. and majority leader harry reid has warned senators to expect evening and weekend sessions. follow the entire debate on our companion network, c-span 2, the only network with gavel to gavel coverage of the u.s. senate. and to read the senate bill and the house version and see video on demand go to c-span's healthcare hubris. >> as we mentioned the hearing looking at pilot fatigue gets underway in about 10 minutes or so at 10:00 15 eastern. until then a look at the latest headlines and your journal. first, bob cusack, the front
10:05 am
page of "the hill" a newspaper host: sam young man writes in the piece presidents are defined by and large by the wars they wage. how will the president be defined tonight? >> well, he'll be defined because he will basically own the afghanistan war. own the afghanistan war. he called this the good war on the campaign trail. he sent 17,000 additional troops to afghanistan. at that time democrats embraced the move. they said that president bush had not paid a lot of attention to afghanistan and that he was focusing too much. just like president bush was defined by his decision to invade iraq, it went well at
10:06 am
first and his political capital evaporated as the war went on. this is a key moment in the obama presidency. he spent a lot of time deciding which course to take and he is definitely a war presidents. host: the other had line is that the president must sway doubting democrats. will the president be speaking ahead of this speech? guest: yes, he is going to be meeting with 30 lawmakers before he heads to west point, he will be detailing what he will be saying tonight in the speech. there will be some powerful democrats there, including david obi, who has been saying in recent days that the war must be paid for.
10:07 am
the afghanistan war, we have obviously been there since 2001, he has been saying that it will cost to $2 trillion and that we should offset that. he has proposed a tax on wealthy americans. nancy pelosi has noted much unrest in her caucus with afghanistan and have it has been going. this will be tough for the president. he has to convince not only republicans, who want 40,000 troops at least, but he must convince a fair amount of powerful democrats to go along with his plan and i think that there will have to be compromise on capitol hill because they are not going to rubber-stamp what obama wants. you have to concede to some of these offsets.
10:08 am
host: what about selling this to the american people? guest: it will be a challenge. earlier this year 65% of americans supported the war in afghanistan, but since then the number has dropped considerably. he is not really going to convince anti-war liberals, who have been very skeptical of the war in afghanistan. he has got to convince centrist democrats as well. people that polls show have lost faith in this war. host: what will he and the folks in his administration be doing to not only sell this to the american people but, as you indicated, the legislators on capitol hill? >> there will be a series of hearings later this week. the top officials in the obama
10:09 am
administration are on deck. hillary clinton, she is going to be testifying. robert gates, as well as mike mullen, will be testifying. stanley mcchrystal, the top u.s. commander in afghanistan, republicans have wanted him to testify on his recommendations. he has not yet, but he is expected to testify next week. all of these major players in the obama administration will be making their case and there will probably be some tense moments with members that do not want this war to continue or at least once a timeline for getting out. earlier this year nancy pelosi did not embrace timetables, which the appropriations committee chairman was pushing for. i think that there will be more
10:10 am
of a push for an exit strategy. the white house has indicated that the u.s. is not going to be in afghanistan forever. there are sticking points that will come up. host: we will look for coverage of that here on c-span, go to c- span.org for the schedule. what should the viewers be looking for in these hearings? guest: how they handle the questions and how they pinpoint but cost and how the u.s. will continue to fight and wage two wars when we are in record deficits and unemployment. when lawmakers go home they are not hearing about the war in afghanistan. they are hearing about jobs and the unemployment rate. how do we continue to wage these wars? republicans will make the pitch -- how do we not? we have not had a terrorist
10:11 am
attacks since 9/11. some people say that the fort hood shootings was a terrorist attack, but that is under investigation. officials are going to have to be dealing with some very difficult questions from liberals and republicans. host: bob cusack will be with us for the first hour here on "washington journal." we will be back with you in a few minutes. first, chris, independent line. good morning. caller: how are you doing? president obama on his campaign trail said that he would have a clearly defined exit strategy in iraq. but in fact they are really just moving the deck chairs on the titanic into afghanistan. what i find interesting, being a
10:12 am
former veteran of the cold war, the tipping point that financially broke the former soviet union was not only the cold war but it was also afghanistan. it was unsustainable. that area of the world is not a troop of friendly geographic area. they are not accustomed to fighting there. we are not. what i want to hear tonight from president obama is basically two things. a clear description of what his measure of success is and how he is going to fund of this war. those are the two things. anything else that he has to put in place is just a smokescreen. host: what do you think of a
10:13 am
clear description of success? guest: how do you define it? that is the number one question. we have done a very poor job in the middle east and that region "%%, %ã/74 / >> my stance is personally i would like to see us pull out completely and take a more defensive stance whereby we say, okay, this is clearly something that no one is ever going to, you know, solve. it's been 5,000 plus years of
10:14 am
documented war and turmoil. so who are we to think? how do we have the ego to actually think that we can, you know, control that area when our m.o. is to go in and then pull out? host: ron on the republican line. you're next. caller: hi, get too. how are you this morning? listen. there's a real problem here. no one looks at the real problems of afghanistan. you've got a language, dariun, powerboats tune. the endemic -- pashtun. al-qaeda and people that are in the border areas of pakistan. those are endless. those people can come across that border by donkey back anytime they want to with all their i.e.d.'s. if you study what's been
10:15 am
happening in afghanistan in the last three months, 80% of our troops have been killed by i.e.d.'s. so how is the president going to stop that from going on and continuing to kill us? in our opinion, you know, you've got to look at this and say, how can you control a country that's basically corrupt, that's built on poppy seeds that are being sold around the world with an endless supply -- we leave this recorded portion of "washington journal" to take you to a senate hearing on airline pilot fatigue. following an incident in which a northwest airlines plane overshot its destination by 150-miles. -- live coverage on c-span. >> the issue of pilot fatigue is not new. it's been on the national transportation safety board's most wanted list for 19 years since the list was created. pilot fatigue has consistently been an issue with theness
10:16 am
secretary of state and the f.a.a. -- with the ntsb and the f.a.a. the current flight rules have been in existence for some 40 or 50-years without much change. the ntsb investigations have found that pilot fatigue was either the probably or the con contribute story cause of 20 air carrier accidents in the u.s. and has caused 273 fatalities between 1989 and 2008. so this is not some issue without substantial consequence. the ntsb's outstanding pilot fatigue related safety recommendations calls on the f.a.a. to revise the flight and duty time limitations to take into consideration research findings on fatigue and sleep issues. while the f.a.a. also limits the amount of flight and duty time a
10:17 am
pilot may work in a day, and as i said these limits have existed for decade, commuting time which is an increasing phenomenon in recent decade, is not factored into this requirement at all. i'll talk just for a moment about that today. the stories that we have heard are fairly frightening. and i want to say from the outset my goal today is not to alarm the flying public. far from it. we have the safest skies in the world in my judgment. but the issue of pilot fatigue is serious and merits attention. while the skies are safe, they are not perfect. and the two events that focused more recent attention on pilot fatigue, there was a minneapolis overnight recently, an incident last month that sparked much comment on how two pilots could have overflown their destination
10:18 am
by 150-miles. there was speculation that perhaps the pilots were asleep. the pilots indicated that they were working on electronic devices. no one i guess quite knows all of those answers at the moment. the second is the tragic crash of colgan air flight 3407. we've held a couple of hearings that have discussed that at some length. the ntsb is still conducting its investigation into that tragic accident and has yet to issue a report on the cause of the accident. but we do know that both pilots commuted from across the country earlier that day, one from florida and one from seattle, to reach their duty stations in newark. what i want to do is go through a few charts, if i might, and let me begin on the front side of this with the first chart talking about crew rest.
10:19 am
these are just some things that most of you and i have heard and seen on investigative reports and official reports. this happens to be a "wall street journal" article about fatigue. tom wycor, a 18-year veteran pilot describing the routine of commuter flights with short layovers in the middle of the night says, "take a seahawks brush your teeth, pretend you slept." -- take a shower, brush your treat, pretend you slept." i don't know him but that comment by somebody in the cockpit makes you question fatigue and whether we have done all that is necessary to make sure fatigue is not a contributing factor to problems in the cockpit. another pilot -- and again pilots of course are not in a position to be able to speak very effectively or very
10:20 am
candidly about these things. this is an anonymous pilot of a 737 jet flying to denver. nbc news was quoting the pilot when discussing fatigue. the quote is, "i have been doing everything in my power to stay awake. coffee, gum, candy. but as we entered one of the most critical phases of flight, i had been up for 20 straight hours." fatigue in the cockpit by that pilot? perhaps. "new york times" report on fatigue. "by the time the captain parked his aircraft at the last gate of the night he was exhausted. but he would be due back at work eight hours and 15 minutes later. "at the very most, he says, if you're the kind of person that could walk into a hotel room, strip and lay down you might get 4 1/2 hours of sleep." fatigue? seems to me probably so.
10:21 am
and i happen to have heard this sort of thing from a lot of pilots coming in late at night to an airport. and by the time on a late flight flying around weather and so on, by the time they get to their hotel and get some rest and are required to report back, the question of fatigue is a very real and a very serious question. i also wanted to discuss just for a moment the issue of commuting. i showed this chart once again before. this was the colgan airport, colgan air pilots commuting to the newark base. this is a different issue than duty time. but you can see pilots commuting all across the country to the duty base. in this case the tragedy that occurred in buffalo, new york, the person flying in the right seat, commuted all night long from seattle, washington to newark.
10:22 am
next chart shows part of the product of commuting. it's a "watches a movie on his computer at a crash house in sterling park, virginia. the houses which can have up to 20 to 24 occupants at a time are designed to give flight crews from regional airlines a quiet place to sleep near their base airports. many can't afford hotels, so they use the crash house where rent is generally $200 a month for a bed. incidentally, on this issue i ran into a pilot about two weeks ago at an airport, a very young pilot, who told me that he had just started his career but was now quitting. and i said, why? and he said, because i'm going to work for a city police department. and my salary will be twice as much as my salary flying the commuter jet. and it relates to this question of why can't someone afford a
10:23 am
hotel and instead use this cash pad as part of their commuting across the country, in many cases across the country in order to reach their duty station? the f.a.a. announced earlier this year that they're going to revise the flight and duty time rules. so i'm glad they're here today to tell us about that work. the f.a.a. administrator babbitt has said the agency plans to issue those new rules by the end of next year. and given the history on this issue, i think it's important that they complete that work that was begun by soliciting the recommendations of an aviation rulemaking committee. another false start, and there have been several would really in my judgment be unacceptable. i hope this hearing will bring some renewed focus to the issue of pilot fatigue, flight and duty time rules, also the issue of commuting. and i hope that we can take steps to remove fatigue as a
10:24 am
factor in aviation safety. as i indicated when i started, there have been a fair number of accidents that the ntsb attributes to fatigue. with respect to commercial airlines in my judgment there's not room for fatigue in the cockpit. we need to have duty times and flight time so that we are not running into that problem. let me make one additional point. some will make the case i think today and perhaps in questions and answers we'll explore it more. there's a change in the way we fly in this country. a lot of smaller planes, smaller commercial airplanes, regional commuter planes that are up and down, up and down, up and down all day long. and the takeoffs and the landings are the period where pilots of course are straining and actually straining is not the right word but paying a great deal of attention. there's no room for mistakes on takeoffs and landings. so there's a lot of tension in
10:25 am
the cockpit and a lot of attention paid to the way that airplane is being flown. so that also creates fatigue. and i think this hearing can be a catalyst and hopefully will be helpful to the f.a.a. and to the ntsb in trying once again to put all the spot lights on the same spot when it comes to this issue of fatigue in the cockpit. mr. lotten berg, let me call on you for a cummins opening statement and then we'll begin with the witnesses. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. when we look at the details behind the questions that are being raised here now, it borders on being shocking. too much is demanded of our pilots. too many hours on too little sleep and operate complex machines with people's lives in their hands. the slightest tip in this risky balancing act can cause a
10:26 am
disaster as we saw in the colgan flight number 3407. and i heard the chairman's review of that matter. and the stress that was on the copilot. and it's unfair to the individual certainly was disastrous for all of them including the pilots. but the full airplane travelers. and in this holiday season planes are packed. the last thing a traveling family wants to worry about is a sleepy pilot. it's an inchtation to disaster. now, we have a great system and it's been safe. but i think we're nibbling at the margins. and that just the courage, the response of a lot of well-meaning people has averted
10:27 am
some significant miscues. and whether it was over the hudson river where two planes collided, one landed in the river, no area -- and this is turning for a moment away from the pilot -- but turning to the rules that the f.a.a. lays down for pilot training. you wouldn't ask a brain surgeon to go to take care of your needs if he was up eight hours during surgery someplace else. and it's inappropriate with the system -- with the value that we have in our aviation system that we should ask pilots who make in many cases barely above the minimum wage, the national minimum wage is $15,000 a year. they have pilots who are -- who are going to work at $20,000 a
10:28 am
year. the incident that you talked about, mr. chairman, was a fellow going to a police uniform because he was going to make so much more money. a private in the army makes $16,800 a year. private in the army. and here we're asking someone who has substantial amount of training in order to get as far as they do to get a commercial pilot's license. and we're discarding what is fair and appropriate to keep that person in the best of conditions. athletes don't go out on the field without being ready to do it or should not. and we see the consequences of those incidents occurring. so mr. chairman, it's the right thing to do. and i thank you for holding this hearing. >> well, senator lautenberg, thank you for your attention to all these aviation issues.
10:29 am
as we've held hearings you've constantly come to these hearings and be very active and i know you spent a lot of time on them and appreciate that. we are joined by ms. peggy gilligan, associate administrator for safety at the f.a.a., mr. basil barino, captain john prater president of airline pilots association and mr. william voss, president and c.e.o. of flight safety foundation. let me as i call on ms. gilligan, say in response to what senator lautenberg said, we should not have to learn the same lesson twice or three or four, five times. we've been through this. this is, you know, groundhog's day we've had discussion after discussion after discussion about fatigue. and the same has been true with the ntsb. and having it on a most-wanted list for some 19 years is unacceptable. and i appreciate the fact that
10:30 am
administrator babbitt is now in the process of taking action. we're going to hear that from ms. gilligan. but this has to be a catalyst. this hearing has to be a catalyst for insisting at last, at long last after some 40 years or so, that we take a hard look at this and make the changes that are necessary. ms. gilligan. >> thank you, sir. chairman dorgan, and senator, members of the subcommit year, i'm pleased to be here today to discuss the f.a.a.'s efforts to mitigate pilot fatigue. as you know the agency his been involved in revising the current regulations on flute and duty time for some time. and we are all frustrated by the amount of time we've spent. but i can tell you that this time our efforts are different. administrator babbitt, himself a former commercial airline pilot, has made this a high-priority issue for the f.a.a. in june he chartered an aviation rulemaking committee comprised of labor, industry and f.a.a. representatives to develop
10:31 am
recommendations for a rule based on the current science of fatigue and review of international approaches to this issue. -- was chartered to provide a forum for the u.s. aviation committee to discuss the signs to fatigue, mitigating fatigue found in international examples, and to make recommendations to the f.a.a. so that united states could modify its regulations. the 18 members of the arc representing airlines and union associations were selected based on their extensive direct operational experience and their commitment to address this safety risk. the arc met for over six weeks beginning july 7th. and on september 10th the arc delivered its final report to the f.a.a. the administrator has committed to issue a notice of opposed rulemaking early in 2010. but this effort is a difficult and complicated effort and it
10:32 am
has taken longer than any of us wanted or expected. the events of the last 15 years are evidence of the complexity of the issue and the strong concerns of all the parties involved. those concerns are clear in the current rulemaking process as well. at the same time, our focused efforts since june demonstrates the high priority that administrator babbitt places on overcoming these challenges and updating these regulations to enhance safety. while we will need additional time to complete our analysis and make sure that we get it right this time, i am confident we will get there. chairman dorgan, members of the committee, this concludes my remarks and i would be happy to answer questions that you may have. >> ms. gilligan, we will have a lot of questions so appreciate your being here and your testimony. >> thank you, sir. >> mr. basil is it barino? >> that's correct. >> vice-president of operations and safety air transport association. you may proceed. let me say to all four of you
10:33 am
that your entire statements will be made a part of the permanent record and you may summarize. >> good evening. i am basil barino, vice-president of operations and safety of the -- mr. chairman, members of the subcommittee, i appreciate the opportunity to joinious this morning as you consider the impact of pilot fatigue on aviation safety. this important subject demans a slab tiff, thorough and science-based response. a.t.a. participated in the arc that ms. gilligan mentioned. it was a productive effort. but we must all recognize that arc operated under significant time constraints. it wrapped up its work in a six-week period. consequently we may expand on the views that we expressed in the arc and that i'll outline this morning. we support a duty day regulation designed to account for fatigue risks including sir cadeian cycles, time awake, time on task, acclimation to time zones.
10:34 am
our goal is to mitigate fatigue risk by reducing the duty time of pilots, expanding scheduled rest opportunities to ensure adequate rest and increasing pilot's awareness of fatigue risk in their personal role in mitigating that risk. as in other aviation safety efforts, success here will depend on data-driven annal cease and rigor in translating those analysis into regulatory action. the recommendations that we in conjunction with the cargo airline association and the regional airplane association provided to the arc were divided into substantive and procedural considerations. we had five substantive issues. first we recommended that any new regulation established a minimum of 10 hours scheduled rest before the beginning of a flight period at a domestic station in 12 hours at an international station. and we went on to suggest that additional detailed rest requirements were appropriate for certain international
10:35 am
flights. second, any new regulation should require each air carrier to adopt a f.a.a.-approved fatigue mitigation program. an advisory circular could provide guidance in the necessary flexibility to update fatigue mitigation programs as we gain experience. third, we urge that any new regulation account for the wide variety of operational environments just as the current regulation does. these include domestic and international passenger operations as well as cargo operations and on demand charter operations. science-based principles judiciously blended with decades of operational experience will allow the various air carrier models to continue to operate safely. fourth there also needs to be a focus on the individual in the regulations. regulatory language should clearly prescribe the responsibility of the crew member to properly prepare him or herself for flight. no fatigue policy without such
10:36 am
an admonition can be regarded as comprehensive. and fifth, the f.a.a. should endorse controlled cockpit napping, conducted in accordance with f.a.a.-approved procedures to facilitate alertness during the critical phases of flight. previous nasa research has shown overwhelmingly that controlled napping significantly mitt gates fatigue risk. on the procedural side, we had three issues. we're particularly concerned about the ultimate scope of any proposed regulation. extraneous consideration should not burden our efforts to improve aviation safety. the rulemaking proceeding is not the forum in which to resolve collective bargaining issues. second, we are also concerned about the effect of proposed duty and rest regulations on managers who are also qualified as line pilots. if time spent on administrative duties such as checking e-mail or making a phone call count as duty, we risk losing
10:37 am
line-qualified pilot managers. these pilot managers have played an essential role in safe airplane operations in the consequence of this rule on those management positions must be carefully considered. and finally, as in any major regulatory change, covered parties will need time to implement new policies requiring programming and training. that is particularly so here where crew schedules will be impacted. we therefore ask that f.a.a. provide a transition period of at least two years after the regulation is published. a.t.a. members are committed to using the best science available combined with proven operational experience to better manage pilot fatigue. we look forward to look working with the f.a.a., the -- committee. >> thank you very much. we appreciate your question.
10:38 am
captain prater, welcome. you may proceed. >> thank you. chairman dorgan, ranking member diment, member office subcommittee. thank you for having us here today to represent the airline pilots association international. pilot fatigue has loomed as a safety issue for our union since it was founded in 1931 during the difficult years following 9/11, these long-standing concerns have intensified with bankruptcy, concessionaire contracts and the layoff of thousands of pilots, forcing many of those who are still working to fly longer hours and more grueling schedules. it is a dire situation that i have experienced in my own cockpit. just one example from several years back. flying on the back side of a five-day trip that took me from newark to japan and back to newark, my copilot and i were so fatigued from crossing and recrossing numerous time zone
10:39 am
wake to make a pre-dawn landing during a stop in honolulu. at that time i was in command of a 767 with overly 240 passengers on board. while this segment was legal to fly with only two pilots, because it was a few minutes short of the eight-hour limit it would have been far safer had we had the third pilot to augment the crew as had been the case for every other leg of that specific trip. that would have allowed both me and my first officer to catch a couple-hour nap in the cabin. current u.s. flight and duty time rules date from 1954, when the d.c.-3 was the state-of-the-art. times and equipment have changed but the rules have not. since 1989 the national transportation safety board has issued more than 70 fatigue-related safety recommendations. few would deny that modern science-based recommendations
10:40 am
are urge endly needed. from our view from inside the cockpit a rule must be grounded on three basic tenets. one, it must be based on science. two, it must apply equally to all flight operations. no exceptions, no carve outs, no loopholes for air cargo or charter operations. three, a new rule must allow and encourage air carriers to implement fatigue risk management systems known as frms. during the past 60 years, scientists' understanding of sleep, fatigue and human performance has grown significantly. several recent studies have focused directly on pilot fatigue. this confirms that current rules can lead to fatigue that impairs pilot performance. the 190-nation international civil aviation organization or icao, has mandated that flight limitation rules be based on
10:41 am
scientific principles to ensure that crew members are well rested and alert. the united states is compel today comply with this international standard, but unfortunately we don't because the f.a.a.'s current rules are not science based. second, one level of safety in flight and duty time regulations is absolutely essential. the current f.a.a. flight time limit for passenger carrying pilots is 30 hours and seven days for domestic operations and 32 hours and seven days for international flights. but air cargo pilots can fly up to 48 hours in a six-day period or 60% more than domestic passenger-carrying pilots. no science exists to support multiple sets of flight time, duty time limits. no rational argument can be made for different fatigue rules for pilots based on whether they fly passengers or cargo, des. -- if our industry is to truly address pilot fatigue.
10:42 am
exceptions or carve outs would kill long overdue efforts to ensure all pilots are well rested. worse, carve outs would undermine the one level of safety principle that must remain our ultimate goal. finally, the new regulation must enable carriers to transition to a fatigue risk management system. a collaborative, nonpunitive environment where management and flight crews work together to ensure that crew members operate alertly and safely under all circumstances. it is also imperative that the f.a.a. require air carriers to implement fatigue education and training programs for their crews, their managers and their schedulers. i'm very encouraged that we finally appear to be on the verge of securing the modern science-based flight and duty time rules that we know are vital to enhancing aviation safety. we will continue to do all we can to carry on this momentum. seven pilots representing all aspects of our industry worked on the f.a.a.'s aviation
10:43 am
rulemaking committee. in october our executive board unanimously approved new policy that reflects our values of science and the one level of safety for all and it ensures our vision for ensuring pilots are well rested. we look forward to evaluating the f.a.a.'s proposed rule and we applaud efforts to create a final rule by mid next year. the current regulatory frameworks a fabric and wire biplane struggling to stay aloft in a supersonic age. i ask for your help in giving the flying public a new level of safety by ensuring that every pilot in the united states starts every trip alert and rested. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> captain prater, thank you very much. we appreciate you being here. mr. william are. voss is the president and c.e.o. of the flight safety foundation in alexandria, virginia. welcome. >> thank you.
10:44 am
chairman dorgan, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for giving us an opportunity to testify. fatigue in aviation has been in the headlines lately but it's been scientifically researched for decades as you noted. 1979 nasa first studied fatigue in decision making simulators. decades of research have followed by institutions around the world. it's taken a long time and a lot of data for the industry to reach consensus on this issue but the tragedy of the colgan air crash has pushed us along towards a conclusion. regardless of how we got here, the foundation supports the f.a.a.'s current effort to develop rules that reflect the scientific understanding of fatigue. in writing these rules. the f.a.a. is faced with a daunting task. the human fatigue is too complex to deal with just the classic approach of regulations and compliance. ideally we'd implement a comprehensive fatigue risk management system across the whole industry but it's unrealistic to think that every operator could adopt such an approach. so the f.a.a. will have to write traditional, prescriptive rules,
10:45 am
while also allowing large operators to take more comprehensive fatigue risk management approach. as a minimum, these prescriptive provisions should address the relationship between assigned duty and time of day, the cumulative effects of consecutive duty periods and the effect of multiple short-haul flights. these provisions will not be perfect but they will be a compromise. but for smaller operators they'll be practical. and they will significantly improve the level of safety. now, for those operators who are able, they should be encouraged to go beyond the basic rules and adopt the fatigue risk management system or frms. it addresses fatigue systematically and increases the responsibility of the operator and its employees to jointly manage the risk. broadly speaking, frms offers three layers of protection that include prevention, which is the pro-active strategic risk reductions such as scheduling correctly based on science.
10:46 am
mitigation, at the operational level, to make sure you execute the plan you've put in place and you have a realistic execution of that plan. intervention also, when everything else goes wrong you still need to have the ability to intervene and reduce the risk of a flight. no matter what you do, there will be times things don't go right. that brings me to the subject of one of the more controversy interventions and that's the control cockpit rest. no matter what rules are written there will always be timed when pilots become fatigued. when that happens, many countries have determined that safety is best served by allowing and regulating rest in the cockpit. revelations ensure this is done -- regulations ensure this is done safely, specify what happens during the crew rest, who is responsible for various actions and a post rest briefing. of course controlled rest cannot be used to replace responsible planning and scheduling. every flight must begin with a well-rested crew. but when things go wrong, controlled rest is an important tool to keep things safe.
10:47 am
there are some other fatigue issues that deserve consideration, even though much research has been done there are still some gaps. more research is still needed in the area of high frequency, high cycle operations. we understand the regional airline association is interested in re-- calls to the f.a.a. to consider these find, in the proposed rules. we focus so much on the flight crew that we overlook fatigue in the rest of the industry. last year the foundation published a long article about the danger of fatigue among aviation maintenance workers. this has been pad by -- fatigue among maintenance workers has been a trick factor. we strongly encourage the f.a.a. to consider maintenance personnel in future rules. a concerted effort should be made for the f.a.a. industry and labor to educate the aviation safety work force on matters associated with fatigue risk. countless operators are in the process of developing fatigue
10:48 am
training materials for their work force. if we -- just as regulators, labor and industry came together 20 years ago to deal with the problem controlled flight, we can come together again to deal with this threat. we are working with the regional airline association and others to make this happen. in summary, i'm gratified for the cooperation we are seeing around this issue and i'm optimistic that the f.a.a.-proposed rules will be scientifically based an will include all the latest research and experience. thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> mr. voss, thank you very much. let me begin with you. i think what i heard you say was that there should be two different standards of regulations or processes dealing with fatigue. one for the larger carriers which can do it more comprehensively, and then a separate approach for the smaller carriers. that would not be very comforting to a passenger that gets on an airplane that is not
10:49 am
one of the larger carrier planes because it seems to me fatigue is fatigue, no matter the size of the plane and the people in the cockpit that are flying it. if they're fatigued there are risks. so expand on that. you're telling us you think there ought to be two standards? >> thank you, mr. chairman. actually to be very clear what i'm trying to say is that regulations have to be written in a way that can be complied with. and sometimes you need straightforward rules, as i believe we will be able to put together through this regulatory process to serve as the limit, as the safety net. however, there is still an opportunity here to go beyond the basics. we can ensure a strong level of safety, make a big improvement in the industry, but we need to pay attention to the fact that there are new processes out there called fatigue risk management which allow us to take the data we get from everyday operations and see where problems are developing and implement things that even
10:50 am
go beyond the rules. and so i'm saying that we need to put good rules in place, we need to also make provisions for us to grow beyond the rules thanksist. >> but again, maybe captain prater you can in recent years this system of the large front carriers and then the regional carriers. the regional carriers are a very important part of our system. they have one half of the flights and carry one fourth of the passengers every year. let me say it again. one half of the flights and one fourth of the passengers on regional carriers. they get on an airplane that has the markings in many cases of the large carriers but it's not the large carriers. it's a regional carrier. and it seems to me that the question of fatigue is a question that is not separate by the size of the cockpit or the size of the airplane. captain prater, you described fatigue, you used the term "dire" unquote. what's your sense of whether there should be one standard or
10:51 am
two? or as mr. voss suggests and i understand why he suggests it. i have difficulty agreeing that we should move in that direction. he says it would be more difficult for the smaller regional carriers to comply to more comprehensive rules. >> well, let me begin with -- i'll restate. we believe that there should be one set of strong underlying regulation that creates the foundation regardless of the size of airplane or the cargo behind the cockpit door. that would be the first. the second level then would say how do we enforce that and how -- and i think maybe bill was alluding to how can we improve upon that level of foundation? but the first foundation, the regulations, should apply to all equally. it doesn't matter whether you've got one passenger or 500 in the back of your airplane. the frms would allow us to look
10:52 am
at specific situations, just take one case. the ultralong-range. if i get in a 777 and go from newark to hong kong it's going to be about 16 1/2 hours. that exceeds the current regulations. but with a frms we could come up with the rules on how to conduct a specific flight like that. i think that's where bill is trying to go. >> captain prater, you said that the fatigue rules in the u.s. do not comply with icao standards. what do you mean by that? >> icao has called for the flight time, duty time rules to be science based. ours currently are not science based. the future ones, when we get them done, as long as someone doesn't try to delay this like they have the last several attempts, will be science based which would bring us into compliance with the icao provisions. the last thing i would say on the first subject, sir, was
10:53 am
the controlled napping. again, napping should not be seen or viewed as somehow keeping pilots on duty even longer. in other words, i can hear the scheduler now. well, i'm pretty tired. i shouldn't start this flight. don't worry. you can catch a nap en route. no, that's not a sound strategy for being alert on the other end. you are once in awhile going to be caught in a position where you need a nap. and you'll coordinate it with the other pilot. but remember at that point there's one pilot in the cockpit. our system of safety is based upon redundancy after redundancy. and now you want to say, well, only one pilot has to be awake. well, i can tell you right away, trying to come up out of a nap to make a snap decision or to make even a long-range decision is difficult. it has to be well planned. >> ms. gilligan, can you respond? what is the agency's response to the difference between mr. barre
10:54 am
know and captain prater on the one size fits all approach with respect to fatigue? i think that the ata argues that you don't want one size fits all. captain prater said, i think, that one size fits all ought to be the minimum standard. what's the f.a.a. say to that? >> well, sir, the arc actually presented us a framework recommendation that has one approach. and i think what the science does indicate is that things that contribute to fatigue are common across individuals, across humans. and it has less to do perhaps with the environment. there are some environmental issues that need to be considered. you yourself mentioned multiple takeoffs and landings is a little bit different environment than the ultralong-range flights for example that captain prater referred. to and the rules need to acknowledge that. so the framework will be a common framework. but i think what you'll see in the proposal that the arc put forward is a bit of a sliding
10:55 am
scale that allows us to take into account the time of day that the schedule may encompass and the number of takeoffs and landings it may encompass so that we can properly balance the contributing factors to fatigue. >> i'm going to call on senator lautenberg a moment. but one final point, we will have administrator babbitt in front of us i think it's next week or the week after. >> yes, sir. >> can you give us a timeline on fatigue. you're talking about the arc and so on. but as i said when i started, this goes back 40 or 50 years and then two aborted attempts in the 1990's to deal with this issue. what's the timeline here? >> well, the administrator had announced that we would have a final -- a proposal out boy the first of next year. unfortunately we have run into some additional analysis. what the arc provided was again as i said a very good framework. but they did not provide particular recommendations on particular elements of the rule. and we are now having to fill in those blanks and analyze the
10:56 am
effect of those based on recommendations that arc made but again without their specific agreement on what included. >> are you saying the first of the year is a time deadline that has been sliding? >> we will unfortunately miss the first of next year. we have agreed with the administrator that we will complete all of our analysis by the end of january. and then the rule will need to go through administration review. >> i'm going to ask a series of additional questions of you and others about this. but i want to have my colleagues have the opportunity. senator lautenberg. >> thanks, mr. chairman. and i must say that what we've heard from our panel here today confirms the view unanimously that what it is now is not adequate. and that we'd have to make changes. and the rules are antiquated based on where the system is
10:57 am
today, the number of passengers that come, the different types of aircraft. and i would ask you this. might we be looking at something more than just fatigue factor? there's stress particular tor that even as there's adequate sleep there are other things that can interfere with clear thinking. not the least of which is income. and i don't know how we get this across, but there ought to be some standard. what are the requirements now for commercial pilot's license, captain? >> about 250 hours of flight time, instruction time in a single engine airplane. >> and how about -- are there any other educational requirements? >> there are no other
10:58 am
educational requirements for even up to an airline transport pilot ratings. >> are there any physical? what are the physical requirements that must accompany the application for license? >> there are solid physical requirements. basically good health, correctable vision to 20/20, and most pilots twice a year have to meet those physical standards. once a year i believe if you're under 35. >> 40. >> 40. >> are there any prohibitions about alcohol use in advance of taking command of get into the pilot's seat? >> yes, there are very strict rules both time-wise as well as blood-alcohol content.
10:59 am
>> they don't give a blood sample every time they go. >> no. but we are subject to random events. i will tell you that the -- it's a rule that pilots take very seriously, obviously. and some companies even have time limits that exceed the safety limits that f.a.a. has established. >> because with all of these things that do exist, and you get back to the -- to the starting pay for a pilot or a copilot, second seat, when someone is in that seat are they fully prepared in your view to take over command if necessary? >> that is one of the responsibilities of command in fact is to assess your fellow crew member. and whether or not it was as --
11:00 am
you cite the concern of alcohol. most of us watch that very, very closely in each other. and i'm proud to say that we have very, very good success in recognizing those individuals that have a problem. and we have very good success -- >> well, the problem is that doesn't suggest that that's a long-time thing. it can be a single episode. >> right. >> but the point i get to here is that the requirements even to the current standard are pretty heavy duty things. but still in all, we have these outrageous examples of pilots not responding to radio inquiry. should there be a list of infractions kept that says if a
11:01 am
pilot doesn't answer a radio call in five minutes or three minutes or something like that that that ought to be listed as an infraction and a record kept on that? ..
11:02 am
it is shocking. there should be air ruled that is consistent with rapid response on radio calls. it is crowded up there, and equipment is moving more rapidly than it used to. i sleep there are rules that have to be established -- i see there are rules that have to be established, certain behavioral they said the town board knows what is calling on. -- so that the tower knows what
11:03 am
is going on. >> think you, mr. chairman. what we have heard today is pretty distressing about the lack of sleep of of the people flying the planes. i think there is a larger issue about fatigue that goes beyond my lips. there is petite in society. you'll only have to go to the back of the plane -- nearly everyone is asleep. -- there is fatigue in society. everyone is tired. i say and not onlthink not onlye these rules, we live in a world where people are more time year. the average american sleeps not that much every night.
11:04 am
i hope you will get these rules done as soon as we possibly can so that we have something that is scientifically based. i want to bring up three things that occurred to me as a frequent traveler. i have done a lot of the short- legged trips on the continental planes, which was very similar to the crash and buffalo. there are a couple of things. i see that people who often commute to their work. i think this happened in buffalo. it concerns me that we did we talk about being well rested for the start of the plate, not just be able to say i could take a nap on the plane. how important is it that the crew members spent the night before they start on their leg
11:05 am
in their home of? it worries me that we're flying people from tampa to buffalo to go to work. then they will actually start flying when they get to buffalo or get to atlanta at. i experienced this all the time in talking to crewmembers how many people do not live in atlanta. there are lots of crewmembers that flight to atlanta to go to work. will this be addressed? i would like to discuss that. the second thing i would like to have comments on is what availability for sleeping rooms are there for pilots? how good our this week brunn's? is this something that is being discussed, providing a place where playlists -- provided a place where pilots can get a good rest?
11:06 am
the third thing is, who is in charge? my sense is that the pilot is in charge. are there supervisors that are at the airports that are looking over the pilots before they get on the plane and say, he is too tired he just came in from hong kong. i do not think he can go on the flight. is there a chain of command that put someone in charge at the airports to make these decisions? >> thank you. on the issue of commuting, we recommended that the pilot be required to report to work 64 duty. that is consistent with our regulations at this point.
11:07 am
-- sick for duty. this is an area we are looking at to see if there are additional requirements we want to include in that particular area. that is something that will be addressed and we will ask for comments on the proposal. on the issue of sleeping rooms, there are a number of a major cargo carriers that provide rooms, a temperature controlled quiet rooms for pilots to sleep. one of the recommendations was to give consideration to that kind of rest, to perhaps add additional time to the duty day. we will look at proposals in that area and asked for comments on that as well. for the flights where we have augmented crew, there are sleeping facilities on board the aircraft.
11:08 am
ko'd it was recommended that a high year-end facilities be given more credit -- it was recommended that the higher-end facilities be given more credit. we are looking at all of these issues. >> what about supervision? >> the regulations will likely propose that both operator and the pilot will have responsibility so the rule would save the operator may not allowed in theand the pilot not accept. >> capt. cratain prater.
11:09 am
>> i think we need to understand commuting is a fact of life. whether i am driving to richmond to d.c. that might take me three hours, i am commuting to work. i am starting my day ahead. it comes down to the professional responsibility of what do i have ahead of me that day? if i of clients and easy triple -- if i am flying an easy tripl, i will fly up that morning. if i am flying overnight, i will come of the night before and get some rest during the day. those are facts of the light but we live in now. you have to know your schedule. it is more difficult for reserve
11:10 am
pilots. most are within two to three hours of their duty station. it can easily take three hours to get there. you have to plan ahead. i do not see it as a problem. the first officer committed from seattle to add new wornewark tor trip, but what should have been pointed out is she should have floated the night before. it is not just commuting, at the overall issue of how the flight time duty rules work. it was in charge? i think it starts and ends with the captain, but the carrier does have responsibility. the carrier has a responsibility to accept my word and they will not fire me or discipline me if i say i am too tired to go on. we call this pilot pushing.
11:11 am
if the airplane doesn't go, the revenue sits on the tarmac. if they do not have enough pilots because they have cut back, the trip is canceled. those economic pressures live every day. we have to fight them. the last one is the sleeper roomp rooms is mostly an adequa. take up the tube. -- thank you. -- the sleep rooms are mostly inadequate. >> i appreciate ms. killiagilli saying that their rules will get done. i have talked to the director
11:12 am
and secretary lahood and they are out for public comment. i wanted thank you for pushing on these and encourage you to do this as quickly as possible. one of the things to follow of up on is the changing culture. i think their roles are something like a half century old. it does not reflect new technologies, new ways of living and new information that we have about fatigue. one of the things i have been focused on is that flights are regionals get the rule seems to be different with regionals than the national flights. i know some of the large carriers reimburse pilots for costs of taking it sleep between
11:13 am
ships. two regional carriers do the same thing -- two regional carriers do the same thing? >> i would say most carriers do not provide for the reimbursements of expenses of coming to work to be well rested. they do not pay for hotel rooms where you start and enjoy a trip. part of the problem is that the system does not provide for a mechanism to provide the pilot with a decent salary because we have a marketplace system that we have had over 160 failures of airlines. regional carrier, what does that mean? they fly from canada to mexico.
11:14 am
these are airliners. we need to get away from pigeonholing them. >> arguably the regional pilots, as some of them are flying shorter flights. this involves more takeoffs and landings and they are doing more during that time. i am wondering, should we take that into account? >> we should certainly take that into account. it is interesting that that area has had probably the least amount of research done to it. a lot havs been done on time soe ships. this is a critical area we need to take into account. their roles that were described will take this up and down
11:15 am
factor into account. >> what do we do about learning from what other countries have done? is this in the works? this controlled napping idf? -- idea? >> we are supporting that and the foundation since 1994. that is when the first airline started doing this sort of control snapping. it is found to be a very effective countermeasure. it has proven to be a very safe procedure. it has been adopted in many countries around the world. >> i will follow up on the questions of reimbursement, the idea of more stress on pilots.
11:16 am
also the idea of the controlled napping. >> we did recommend that we consider the time of day when the pilots begin their schedules as well as the number of operations or segments they will fly as part of the scale of how many hours of duty time and flight time they should be permitted. park did not agree on how many hours of flight time -- the arc did not agree on how many hours of flight time that would allow. we are in the process of analyzing this. the framework will take into account the time of day. if you have a number of takeoffs and landings, that may reduce the number of hours.
11:17 am
we will seek comment on all of that. on the issue of control dress, we have not issued standards for that. we have not propose to permit that. at this point, i do not expect we will be proposing that. we do believe the crude needs to come to work prepared for the schedule -- we do believe the crew needs to come to work prepared for the schedule. >> thank you. >> center snow. -- senator snowe. >> this has been on the national transportation safety board most-wanted list for a long
11:18 am
time. this is an issue that deserves immediate attention. to follow up on the question that the senator made, and many other regional airlines have pilots that commute long distance. one of the regional carriers that has a quarter of the crew that commute more than 1,000 miles. how are you pass during this into the rulemaking? -- how are you factoring this and to the rulemaking? >> that is an issue that the aviation rulemaking committee did not recommend that we make changes. they recommend that we continue to see that as a pilot responsibility. we are considering whether there are additional elements that we can or should regulate, and that may be part of our proposal.
11:19 am
we have not yet completed that part of our analysis. we will ask for comments on this. >> captain prater, how do you see the faa addressing this question, if at all? >> if anything, i believe it is a personal responsibility thrust upon you by the circumstances. you can live in your face and the next day your base is closed -- you can live in your base, and the next day your base is closed. i know pilot to have had five base changes in one year. you cannot move.
11:20 am
it is not a whole lot different than many jobs in our society, except on the other end of it, we have to be in command of the cockpit. it does start with personal responsibility. the carrier must insure that the pilot is able to get to work with the least amount of hassle. it is no different from flying from st. louis to washington, d.c., to begin your work week here. it should not take you eight or 10 hours to fly. there are things that can be done, but i believe it will be done more in the collective of bargaining irina where we come up with a solution from our employers. >> the think operator and pilot -- do you think the operator and
11:21 am
the pilot can make the decision about whether they are too tired to make the trip? obviously they need the pilot. it seems to me they would be most likely. >> it comes down to our physical that we take every six months. we have to determine if we are it to apply that day. it does not matter if i have a call or cold or did not sleep last night because the baby was crying all night. i have to make that decision. all we ask is the protection of the employer. it should be accepted when a pilot calls into said there are too tired to make that flight. >> on another issue, i happen to run into an airline pilot last week, for a legacy carrier.
11:22 am
he was very much concerned about the lack of experience is in pilots and copilots on the regional aircraft. the requirement is 300 hours of flight time, compared to what he had at 3000. he was asked for some tips and the co-pilot was not even familiar with the issues that they were discussing. he described it as scary. i was wondering if i could have your views on that. if you could combine the fatigue and lack of experience -- can you address this? >> we are fully supportive of hr3371, and hoped the senate
11:23 am
will pick that up in the near future. it does raise the experience before they can become a pilot and service of carrying passengers. first of all, let me say, i believe we are one of the most critical professions on ourselves. you never have enough experience. the senior captain sharing in discussing issues with the crew is not a bad swing. two years ago our economy is was going in such a way that pilots were being hired bright at the flight school. it did show a crack. it takes a lot more training at the airline level. again, training is expensive. many airlines like to cut costs said every corner they can. we need to expand some of the
11:24 am
training requirements, and much of that is covered in the house legislation. >> thank you. >> let me talk about the question of when. the fact is, this issue has been around, the ntsb has had this on the most-wanted list for many years. i appreciate the fact that you have started the process, but it is much more important that you and the process. -- it is much more important that you end of the process. you indicated that the time is now sliding, not unusual twist federal agencies, but disappointing giving the circumstances we now face. give me your best judgment about when those of us who are waiting for these recommendations and the implementation of new rules
11:25 am
and regulations dealing with fatigue -- when we can expect action. ticket the administrator is completely -- >> the administrator is completely dedicated to completing the process. he is also dedicated to getting it right. this is an area in which he is knowledgeable given his own experience as a pilot. we have presented to him the framework that the aviation rulemaking committee provided and the kind of details that we have to analyze. he has agreed that we need additional time in order to make sure we get it right. we have committed to him to have the analysis completed by the end of january, a month later than we had hoped to complete it. it will then go into the final review. we have commitment from the secretary to keep the review as short as we can keep it, and we
11:26 am
will work with office of management and budget as well. i can assure you state administrator is completely committed to getting this out as quickly as we can. >> thank you for the answer, but you have just described as they, omb, dot -- all agencies that will have to take a reasonably and expeditious action to get something in place. i have had too much experience with omb and dot to believe this works very well. because i referred to incidents in the 1990's and have referred to 19 years of being on the most-wanted list, we are out of patience. you are saying one month. i assume that when the faa
11:27 am
decided to embark on this and set a deadline, it said a deadline based on the judgment of doing it the right way. now you are saying you need more time to do with the right way. >> the arc gave us a good framework but not all of the specifics that need to be included in their role in need to be fully analyze so we can present those for comment. i think the members would acknowledge they did not get that specific recommendation, given the time limits, as well as talk complicated and difficult these issues are. -- as well as how difficult and complicated these issues are. this requires additional time. >> i do not disagree. they are complicated, i understand all of that. when i started today by citing
11:28 am
the number of people who lost their lives and the last 20 years or so because of accidents related to fatigue, and then understanding that we have this issue of fatigue in front of us and cannot come to closure, what i am going to do is -- i will certainly ask the administrator next week in some detail, but i am going to write an official letter, and i assume my colleagues will join me on it, month after month to find out when this will happen, who has it now? we need to move on this. we just need to get it done. it is complicated, but it is not like sending a person to the moon. we can certainly figure out what we need to do to address what has been called a die your problem. -- what has been called a dire problem.
11:29 am
my colleagues talk about commuting. i do not know what we should do about this, but i do not think we should ignore it. you just indicated the process will ignore commuting. someone that flew all night long from seattle to washington to finally get to a duty station and then to hang around the lounge for a couple of hours, based on what we know comment that is not the pilot that is well rested. putting pilots and copilots that dhad never trained on this. in it is unbelievable to me. -- it is unbelievable to me. the piece that we can understand is fatigued, if nothing else, and tried to move expeditiously as we can to address it.
11:30 am
i want to ask a couple of other questions. this issue at snappine of nappii understand why someone might suggest that as an alternative, and perhaps some carriers overseas use it, but i also understand the captain's notions about this. i have flown their planes very minimally. very few hours. i understand in the cockpit, if you are napping and a bell or whistle goes off, you did not wake up knowing that actions to take. you are drowsy. i do not understand the issue of solving of fatigue issue by napping.
11:31 am
>> i am glad to elaborate. we do not view this as the silver bullet for fatigue. it is one of the many tools in the toolbox. airlines would not a build schedules that incorporate napping as a requirement to complete a trip. it is a way to manage fatigue as it rises on a real-time basis. we think it is a smarter approach, managing the napping process, then allowing things to of all the way they have previously where you run their risk of both pilots falling asleep. we think there is a way to do it. we believe nasa has done an adequate research into this. it is one of the many tools that gets factored into the new equation. that is the duty -- you tbeautyf
11:32 am
this new tool box. >> there is layers that have to be applied. the first layer is to make their roles better in the first place so that people show up to work and have the opportunity to show up rested. lastly, in the event that's all of our best efforts are spoiled by the reality at the world and somebody needs to take a rest, you put one last layer of defense and and they have a control procedure where they can obtain it rest. >> i think i address this adequately.
11:33 am
again, you could not prevent and asked if the pilot is that a tired, but it has to be a last- fisheditch effort. the trick we used to use was five minutes before landing to bite into a fresh cut lemon to give you such a jolt that you will wake up and be able to apply. that is pushing the human body way too far. we do not need that. >> the chairman's questions about when the report might be done are questions that i was going to talk about as well. the thing that i would suggest is the chairman -- one of the
11:34 am
things we have not discussed is safety in totality. we are discussing a part of what is required. another part is to make sure the towers are in the sch manned thy they should be. they have 26 plus at kennedy airport. i think one of the questions i would like us to review is what are they doing in contemplation of the retirements and said greg? including the staffing levels right now. the other thing, do you think
11:35 am
$20,000 per year is an acceptable salary for someone who has the responsibility of the pilot? >> what i would say is that seniority is king in the airline industry. what that means is that salary is negotiated between a union and the company. it generally favors the more senior pilots. " we're talking about is -- what we're talking about is a pay scale that starts fairly low and ends fairly high. there are ways to level that out. that is a negotiated element of
11:36 am
the pilot's life style. it is an issue that has certainly been at the forefront of many of the discussions, but it is an element that is negotiated between the element -- the airline and the union. >> i know that. i do not mean to be impatient, but the simple question is whether or not someone making $20,000 per year, particularly those that have to commute distances, -- the question is, whether or not with the responsibility that is inherited in the job, whether $20,000 is a decent salary because many times there will be a second job of that these
11:37 am
people have to take in order to keep their heads above water. that plays a terrific role in establishing stress or fatigue. it is an invasion of good sensibility. >> what i would offer is airlines are subject to the requirement about whether they are commuter airlines or mainline commuters -- there is one set of recommendations. airlines prepare pilots to operate the equipment they are flying. it is in respect of of the amounts of money that the pilot gets paid. >> you said security dictates. -- seniority dictates.
11:38 am
the building i live in is right by the hudson river. it is at a height where the pilot's head to head for a lower altitude. the pilot for u.s. airways flight 1549, said in a hearing that his pay has been cut 40% in recent years. he started a consulting business to maintain a standard of living. this was a guy with a terrific experience-- and obviously grea. i think we're at a point in time where we have to say there are certain standards that must be met. i do not know how to implement
11:39 am
them. that is not my job. my job is to make sure what ever we do we have safety of the public protected to what ever extent we can possibly do it. we have all admitted that the safety record is pretty good, but there are possibilities that are relatively high risk that we should avoid. when we are looking at salaries and when we look at what is happening in their regional versus the majors, regionals are doing pretty well in terms of profitability. skywest made 230 billion. american eagle made 122 million.
11:40 am
-- sky west made 200 million. what is to say they should exert themselves a little bit in terms of trying to attract the best that they can get, and once they get them, to keep them alert and satisfied with their job and paying attention to the minute details that they have to? now at a time when jobs are too few, it's simply cannot be left to negotiation, i do not think, between the union and the company because people want to work. their willingness to work has to be accompanied by being alert and as in command as they can be. do you agree? >> i certainly agree. >> there was a silence that i
11:41 am
heard. >> what i will say is that the industry has taken a beating since september. it has impacted every employee in the industry, not just pilots. you mentioned a few airlines posting profits. what i will say is that the industry as a whole continues to lose billions of dollars each year. i would be hesitant to view a couple of data points that show up in the black as an indication that the industry is performing well. >> a commodity like air travel -- they have to be able to look back at where we were in our history and say just because you can raise money to start new airlines does not mean that you
11:42 am
should be in the industry when we are paying for the whole infrastructure. we're not going to have time or the ability right now to examine that question in its entirety, but it is something that should be examined. thank you very much to all of you. very interesting testimony. thank you. >> let me ask a question -- let's assume that your recommendations are done. omb says we will work on this quickly and move it out. dot says we see this and we intend to get things turned around quickly. all the sudden we have the process complete.
11:43 am
now turn just for a moment to a circumstance that has brought us to do more work in this area, the crash. the pilot flew from seattle to memphis and then flew from la guardia and the pilot flew from florida to la guardia. there is no evidence of either of them having a code hotel room -- there is no evidence of either of them having a hotel room for a rest. there is evidence that one of the pilots was doing e-mails for most part of the night. it appears to me that the pilot not knowing how to use the
11:44 am
equipment -- it is entirely possible that a portion of what caused the crash was fatigue. assuming that everything you are doing is done and we are ready to announce significant progress for the first time in many years, how would it have affected the circumstances of the pilot and co-pilot i have just described? both of whom flew across the country without any evidence of having breast prior to the plight on the regional carrier. -- of havigng rest prior to the piflight on the regional carrier. >> at the end of the day, the
11:45 am
pilots will have to take responsibility for ensuring that they take advantage of their best opportunity in a way that prepares them to report to work. they will always have the responsibility and the operator will have the responsibility to determine that the crew member is prepared to work at that time. the regulatory framework can only set just that, the framework that allows for the operator and the pilot to properly prepare themselves to provide safe transportation. >> i understand the responsibility of the pilot. that is the responsibility of a professional to himself or herself and responsibility to the passengers they are transporting. when i do not understand is when we finish this whole process, nothing will have changed with respect to the circumstances that happened in the cockpit with respect to fatigue. if we have the chart that shows
11:46 am
the colgan commutes. we know that something significant has changed with respect to air travel in this country. i will describe it this way regio-- in north dakota, where w up, the airlines that serve our capital city where republican, a regional charactarrier, but thed not flying small planes. all of them flew jets. my guess is that people in the cockpit, there was not someone with any one of those carriers that was being paid the
11:47 am
equivalent of today's 18,000 or $20,000 per year. it was not the case. what happened was our system worst into something different. those carriers merged emerged again and became much larger. they then created a network of regional carriers that flu smaller equipment -- that flew smaller equipment in timand hada different system framework. one of the other things that has happened, especially in the last couple of decades, we have worked into the system with a chart that shows that everyone is commuting everywhere. it should not be lost on any of us, including the captain, you are a pilot, it should not be lost on us that this chart is
11:48 am
demonstration of the significant potential problem. we have people whose workstation is on the east coast, flying from all over the country just to get to a station where they work. what you are saying and what others have said is it is their responsibility. let me ask obvious question, a cargo company was having problems attracting qualified pilots of the instituted at gateway travel program. it has been very successful. they pay cutin pilots to come to their duty station -- pay commuting pilots to come to their duty station. if you are going to have people living in seattle working at of new york -- how do you make that work?
11:49 am
i am suggesting if you are having this kind of substantial commuting, you better understand you're going to have problems related to it with respect to 15, unless the carriers and the pilots did there and have less -- get tehre anhere and have re. that was not the case in this case. i feel bad because the pilots are not with us and not able to defend themselves. it appears to me that neither had a good night's sleep. when we're done with this issue, i do not think we will have altered the circumstances that allowed this to exist. somehow i think we must. >> as i mentioned, the aviation rulemaking committee did not make recommendations in this area. it is an area we are looking at to see just how the federal
11:50 am
government might address this and a regulatory framework. it can be difficult. people drive from fredericksburg to work in washington. that is a long drive that. that is not the same as flying. reno we do need to address this -- we know that we need to address this. we have not yet completely reached the conclusion. we agree with you, it is a risk factor that must be addressed by the airline and by the public. >> it seems to me, when would be a better time to do with them now when you are actually addressing fatigue in the cockpit? my guess is you will want to say they have our right to commute
11:51 am
wherever they want to commute from. do you believe there is no issue or no problem at all with the substantial commuting that has morphed into this regional carriers in the recent decades? >> i would not say there is not an issue. there is an issue. i gave you our commitment that we will continue to work with the faa and employers to find a solution to the problem. this is the reality. the reality is the work force has become very mobile. the fact is the companies keep moving the flying around. the regional carriers especially. they lose a contract and people who have lived in cincinnati for 20 years flying out of their home base now have to to you overnight. -- nwo have tow have to commute
11:52 am
overnight. it is a mirror image of the program you identified. cargo operators do the same thing. fedex, they get their pilots to where they pick up their flight. it may be overseas. there are systems out there. we can do a better job insuring that the pilot show up ready to go. >> do you think the commuting is part of this? >> clearly commuting sets up a situation where things can go wrong. whee have seen some things go wrong. i think what we have is a problem but a difficult problem to deal with and regulatory framework.
11:53 am
clearly there has to be an obligation for the airline to provide the opportunity for rest. then they have to take the opportunity oup. the fatigue risk-management system we have talked about put sensors into operation. it tells you if you have a problem because of tired pilots or pearoorly-trained pilots. these are the type of things we need to do. that is why i am such a supporter of the data-driven approach that we can take in this industry. >> do you have a response? >> i would reiterate that commuting is part of the
11:54 am
commercial airline business today. we are much smarter today. we are getting smarter each day when it comes to fatigue management. i think we have a challenge before us and how to factor commuting into fatigued management. i think we recognize it is an issue and we're committed to resolving its. >> in some ways it is like looking at a picture and not seeing it. the three of you suggest that commuting is part of a problem, but you will give us something that does not address that. it seems to me that all of these things relate to the circumstances that we know cause additional risk. from these hearings i have held -- i was on a regional carrier awhile back, and i happen to know from the series for that
11:55 am
particular training that they didn', i felt it is an interestg carrier. my guess is that if you fly regionals, you might get on one some time and you know more about it than some others, and see people in the cockpit that have 200 hours and wonder if they are able to handle the planes as well as i am, speaking of yourself with all but the experience you have a. a lot of things have changed with respect to regionals. we need them. but we need to make sure we're dealing with the issues that relate to -- the issues that have become self-evident to us in recent years.
11:56 am
the issue of fatigue is not just a regional issue. i have not meant to hector you, but i do intend to in the future. [laughter] it is very important -- randby babit has a great deal of promise. he has spent a great amount of time in the air. i have high hopes for excellent work coming out of the faa, and that will include your work and many others. it is central that we consider these things urgent, based on what we now know, and it is essential that it be science- based, but it is essential after all of these years that we get this done. i am going to be a burr under
11:57 am
the saddle because we need to get this done. i appreciate we applaud a little bit longer, but i appreciate the fact that all four of you have come to testify. we have the administrator here next week. we will begin to reach a conclusion on some of these issues. i will write to the administrator, but i hope to talk at some length about commuting in addition to the other fatigue issues. let me thank you very much and this hearing is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
11:58 am
11:59 am
>> a look at the u.s. capitol where both the house and senate are in session today. there will be seven and non- controversial bills on the calendar. the votes will be postponed until 6:30 eastern. the senate is about to take a break and a half hour. they came in today to continue work on the $848 billion health care bill. and limit coming -- and then it's coming throughout -- ammendments coming throughout the day. of course, tonight president obama will address the nation as he announces his decision regarding u.s. policy in
12:00 pm
afghanistan. we will carry that live on the c-span networks and open of phone lines for your reaction. it will start at 8:00 eastern. a program note, as scheduled to consider the president's plan for afghanistan, including one hosted by the senate armed forces committee. all of these will be live on c- span 3. check our web site for future details at c-span.org. >> cspan's 2010 student can contest is here. -- student cam contest is here. deadline is january 20. when the entries will be shown
12:01 pm
on c-span. >> now a free-lance journalist talks about being held in a prison following his reporting of the disputed iranian election. it is about 90 minutes. . .
12:02 pm
learning and public policy through its sponsored research and some 800 meetings a year that we host of which this is one. today we're particularly pleased to be partnering with the pulitzer center. a relatively new organization that's already made a -- quite a mark on the field as the news industry goes through the transformation that it's going through. the pulitzer center is providing a really unique product and we are going to hear more about that today and have an example of it.
12:03 pm
i would because i just heard a cell phone, i ask you all to please turn your cell phones and other such guyses off. today, we are being broadcast live. with that let me turn the floor over to john sawyer which is the founding director of the pulitzer center. john created this organization, founded it and for many years he was the bureau chief of the st. louis post dispatch and from his washington base here he traveled the world some 60 countries, i guess, doing reporting and it's a particular pleasure to be partnering with the pulitzer center and today's meeting which could not be more topical. the floor is yours. >> thank you, rob and thanks to
12:04 pm
c-span. thanks to the wilson center for co-hosting this event and for rod for introducing me today. his books are the inciteful things in iran and the iranian colleague, iason athanasiadis, have taught us all about the nature of that country's current government. so to the headlines that we've been seeing the past six months from the tumultuous presidential campaign last spring, its violent aftermath, continuing protest and right up through this morning with the government of president mahmoud ahmadinejad shouting a defiant no to the international demand for pulling down its nuclear program. and today's pavel we are very pleased tore part of this brings us two people which knows very much about iran, about the country's internal politics and how it is being
12:05 pm
portrayed in the western media. iason athanasiadis is a writer, photographer and documentary filmmaker covering middle eastern current affairs from his istanbul base. he's a fwrad wit of oxford university. he also lived in tehran for three years while pursuing graduate studies. he was reporting on iran's presidential elections last june on a grant from the pulitzer center when he was jailed at the direction of iran's intelligence ministry and held for nearly three weeks in solitary confinement. at tehran's evin prison. he was a consultant about a death in iran, a documentary for the bbc and frontline that aired earlier this month. barbara is one of the most experienced diplomatic correspondents. currently assisting manager at "the washington times," she's
12:06 pm
responsible for world and national security coverage. she previously served as senior diplomatic reporter for "usa today" and has also written for "newsdays," "the new york times" and "the economist." she's been a senior fellow at the u.s. institute of peace and is the author of "bitter friends, bosom enemies." i want to take just a minute to tell you about the pulitzer center and how we became involved in this project. the pulitzer center is a nonprofit journalism organization founded almost four years ago. four years ago in january. and we are in the business of filling gaps in coverage of systemic crises around the world. and we collaborate with major news media outlets across the country and in europe and around the world in print, broadcast, radio as well as
12:07 pm
television. and we also have a very active presence on the web and in our educational programs at high schools and universities in which we take the journalism that we sponsor out to younger audiences and try to engage them in the international issues that affect us all. at this point this year we are doing on the order of 50 projects around the world. we partner with everybody from news hour and "the new york times," "the washington post," "frontline world," most of the major media outlets. and "the washington times," under barbara's leadership has been a wonderful partner with the pulitzer center in supporting some really unique independent reporting that we've commissioned in a number of countries around the world. and so we see our approach as very much a collaborative model trying to stretch the available resources that all of us have
12:08 pm
to reach new audiences and to engage as many people as possible. icean was at harvard almost two years ago, i guess, and we talked about projects we might to do together. the first project he did for us was looking at internal conflicts in turkey as part of a project that we did last year. and then he went on from there to do work for us when there were student protests in greece. he covered those and that developed into a project at the pulitzer center. and in the spring we decided together that it would be very good for him to go to iran to cover the elections. and as a general rule the pulitzer center is not about covering elections and the immediate aftermath of breaking news. we see that something that the news media does do, the conventional media, despite all of the cutbacks, they still devote resources to those
12:09 pm
issues. in this case, we knew thaties -- that iason's exhibit on children, the revolution, was displayed at the wilson center and across the country. he's done some extraordinary writing and photographer -- photography. he's fluent in farcey. the context behind it in a way that many of the reporters and journalists where coming in without the background that he had would be able to do so so we're very pleased that work with him to get him to tehran and to work with editors like barbara to know that he would have outlets in the america and the european media. we were less pleased that a week after the election that on
12:10 pm
his way out when his solisa had expired at the -- when his visa was expired that he was taken into custody and detained and held at evin prison where he had nearly three weeks of exposure and it's very interesting -- and i hope that we'll talk some today about his experience and compare that to the "newsweek" correspondent who came out after almost four months of detention. and they were in the same prison, came in about the same time and had different experiences. and then iason, after he came back, went back to athens and istanbul and this country and continued to work with barbara and others. and i think that his perspective on trends in iran and the -- and looking at the media coverage and how the media function in a situation where first they were under extraordinary restraints, restrictions as to where they could go, what they could do in the immediate aftermath of the
12:11 pm
election. and then you have people being arrested and most of the foreign journalists being taken out of the country firsthand, how do you report that in that circumstance. and so i think we'll begin with iason to talk through the experiences that he had and his perspective on iran today and then we'll turn to barbara who also brings tremendous background in this subject to give her perspective as well. we'll open it up, i hope, to q&a. >> well, thank you very much for coming today. thank you very much for hosting me. it's wonderful to be back at the woodrow wilson center. and as jon mentioned, we met during my year which came on the heels of three years living in iran. i made a very fortunate akuwaitans that year, barbara,
12:12 pm
who came to give a talk about her new book at m.i.t. when i was at cambridge. so this sare dip tuss aquabetans led us to be here today and led to journalism being manufactured. so i'm half english and was born in greece and loved english when i was about 10. that opened up to learning arabic at the university and then i went to iran and learned peshian and now i'm trying to learn turkish in istanbul. i run as far as i could without totally leaving the discipline -- we are basically no longer in the age of the old foreign correspondent who would sort of
12:13 pm
perish somewhere or live a world of exotic capitol and get the job done by his local contacts. they are absolutely crucial today. more so than ever. but certainly the budgets that used to allow that kind of life no longer exists. so for someone who is bicultural and more greek than english it's been a real challenge trying to follow this path of journalism which involves basically learning foreign languages, understanding foreign cultures, not to say i am going to give you the low down on what's going on but hopefully cover a culture with slightly greater sensitivity than what would have happened if i didn't speak the language. now this is a problem on both sides of the spectrum. on the one side you have countries that are not particularly acquainted with
12:14 pm
this idea of the u.s. media. i have gone through unbelievable tumbles in the past three years. in iran they still think that "the new york times" and "the washington post" -- and this is the case still about newspapers, but they do believe that old template still holds. and so when someone turns up who is a freelance or who doesn't have a specific affiliation who speaks their language this is in a way a challenge. it's definitely is something strange. not that person is english. they seem to have the unique treat of being universally suspicious by everyone. and then when you combine this with being greek, as an iranian friend once said, you were the first imperialist, so i am not doing good on both sides of my
12:15 pm
background. when you no longer are in country or on the ground covering a foreign story you have to deal with editors back home. and i've made a decision that i write in english so i write for basically british or american newspapers. there is a slight hesitancy and trust. someone who is not perhaps fully 100% of one place with telling a story. so again all sorts of challenges exist in that. so that was the thinking that took me to the middle east and the arab world and then through years in iran. and the absolute god send of the three years of living in iran but fundamentally not particularly working high-profile journalist was coming across the pulitzer center which is in itself a relatively new arrival and is
12:16 pm
basically filling in the block that is increasingly getting emptied by the gradual destruction of the conventional media. now, this is a thinking that basically took us to iran in the elections over the summer where i returned for the basically the second time since i left the country in order to do coverage of the elections. this was not the iran i had lived in between 2004 and 2007. and even though we didn't actually understand when we were on the streets those first few days things would happen later on that would prove to us that things had changed without any hope of going back. i want to show you a clip now from the documentary that i consulted on for pbs "frontline" which shows you the first few hours and days after the election results came out, very shocking results for many people and all the turbulence
12:17 pm
that happened after that. >> we were a few girls and we thought the police would be more hesitant to shoot at a girl or beat a girl. little did we know we would be the first people to get attacked. i felt something in my knee. it was so painful. i blacked out. i passed out. >> she had been shot in the leg with a plastic bullet. >> the hospital was packed with the injured. i mean, i saw things. it was so -- i couldn't stop crying. and then i thought all these people are going to die in front of me. it was so bad.
12:18 pm
and my uncle's friend just left me. and they attacked the e.r. of the hospital. and people are like screaming and running away. it was so packed. to think they actually wanted to hit people who were laying down on the ground, the floor, because there wasn't even enough space. [inaudible] >> i think the regime has been preparing this for several years, in fact, and i think we saw the first sign of it back in september, 2007, when the new revolutionary guard commander announced to the surprise to many iranians, that the biggest threat was not the united states. it was no longer external threats. the biggest threat to the regime was coming inside of iran. >> it's legitimacy now in
12:19 pm
question. the regime brought out its loyalists. it was an impressive show of strength for a president who claimed overwhelming support and dismissed the protesters as dirt and dust. >> ahmadinejad is a blacksmith's son and he is at heart a socialist who wanted to be able to help the people. so it offered a lot of people, you know, voted for him. it's perfectly natural. >> a columnist blames the violence on opposition leader. >> if he had not said the election -- substantial evidence, none of this would have happened. [inaudible] >> we are not going to give up iran.
12:20 pm
we will not give up iran because we paid such a heavy price to have it. and this is the majority of iranians. >> it was turning into a war of numbers. the opposition fought back with a massive temperature on stration through the heart of tehran, the largest since the 1979 revolution. the elite turned against the regime. >> what they don't want to accept, they don't want to understand, this is the people of iran. like the islamic revolution, that was the people of iran as well, the constitutional revolution. this is the majority of the people who wants freedom, who wants human rights. >> so was that particularly audible? so that gives you a sense of
12:21 pm
how fast the events were moving on the ground in those first few hours and days after the elections. it was almost impossible at this point to actually do real journalism. barbara would call me up when she got through on notoriously bad lines or the entire cell network would be down at hours at a time. she said, can you check on this or that? no. i think we were 24 or 48 hours before the regime actually criminalistized -- criminalized investigative journalism. it became an issue of waiting while the hours ticked down on my visa. i had only been granted seven days as opposed to a couple of weeks in other cases. and things were looking very bad. i started wearing sort of just local shirts which didn't look like my sort of foreign shirts.
12:22 pm
and i was going around with friends in the streets and basically trying to keep a low profile and understand as much as possible what was going on to this country that i had lived in and i had really lived and which now was starting to slip away in a very dramatic way. now, all the old -- all the old trends was still there. there was this paranoia. there was a sense of the foreigners are trying to create a velvet revolution and that it is up to the hardcore of the regime to stop it, to the loyalists. there was also a cultural struggle going on which got very little play in the foreign coverage. it's -- you hear about the foreign struggle more in a kind of reactive way when for example the revolutionary guards come out with a new -- come up with a new plan to create a second culture of revolution or to set up units
12:23 pm
fighting the spread of opposition news or prop gandas, they call it. but the cultural struggle in my experience and certainly my experience when i was inside the prison being interrogated is actually by far the most important aspect of what is going on in iran today if you want to understand it. and this is something that came out in the piece for "newsweek." he had interrogators who came from the revolutionary guards. i was fortunate enough to be arrested by the minister of intelligence which at least because of the things in the 1990's have gone through a certain process of reform. i had certain interrogators who relatively educated, respectful men. and obviously the fact that i was a foreigner really helped. it wasn't about starting to beat up and humiliate who was more or less going to be released in the near future.
12:24 pm
but mazzio had a certain modicum of protection. that didn't stop him from getting beat and punched and humiliated and had outlandish accusation that he was an intelligence agent for "newsweek" magazine or that he had participated in sex parties in new jersey which to his sbarefwators' eyes was the most typical american corruption. i had to say that my interrogators were interested in finding out where i came from and how i had been culturally shaped. i said i was greek and because one mifesbarefwators spoke arabic and we kept off the more surreal discussions on the west. and quite frankly i explained to them, for me america had
12:25 pm
been a new thing when i moved there in 2007 to take the nieman fellowship. i had not been anywhere close to new jersey. [laughter] but the fascinating thing that came out again and again, after we got through the nitty gritty of intelligence questions, where did you go? what journalists did you take abroad and so on? we got to a more philosophical plane. we started talking about the great threat that is in their eyes. we talked about the concepts of -- at least in its current form. the west's cultural influence is so powerful that it's basically shreds everything in its wake. and so traditional muslim societies have no protection
12:26 pm
against western civic education except the tough measures that are taken. we talked about the major proponent of this theory and we talked whether muslims might be more susceptible to western civic education than other people. and i felt -- and this is something that mazzio kind of pointed out in his interviews -- that there was a real divide sort of between the real world and between the ideas that some interrogators had. not to say that they didn't have -- for example, when the world was cut up into very neat slices which was black or white and there was great difficulty with -- they all struggled that they could have an unbiased view. they said, what about the west
12:27 pm
against the east? don't you think dubai is a little bubble of the west in the east than even you can cut down dubai into further slices and you can look at it as both western and eastern and also mixtures in between? this was something that kind of did not lead into a deeper conversation. just to say that it seems that there's a -- there's a new elite that is running iran these days and they are quite divorced from the revolutionaries who overthrew them in the 1970's and even the first generation who had a good 30 years through the diplomatic postings or through philosophical things in the east or the west and then their kids grew up and they went to university and some of them grew up in denmark or the u.s. or canada. and so you have this whole new generation, many of whom were
12:28 pm
in the streets. i call them the third generation who are even more capable of seeing things in the shades of gray. then you have the second generation who is in power today. and many of the people in power today come from the revolutionary guard. and many of these people while their colleagues were off in copenhagen and paris and washington, kind of inviting the west and understanding it and grappling, they were fighting for their country in the trenches of the iranian-iraq war and they didn't have the opportunity to do it. now many of them it seems today are running iran one way or another and not taking executive decisions, perhaps they're interrogating people in jail cells or ambassadors to allies of iran and abroad. and i think it's very interesting to try to understand and try to engage with this generation.
12:29 pm
a few words about my imprisonment. as i said, i got off relatively lightly. i only got beaten up when tried to get the message out at the airports on the night of my arrest that i was being arrested. the islamic republic has the habit of arresting people and then denying it has them while it puts pressure on them to come up with some form of confession. and thankfully because i managed to start shouting out in english and farcey, i have been arrested. please contact the greek embassy, they period was cut down. they had to summon the ministry. steps were taken. and really within three or four days, a process had begun. a process of release had begun or at least a process of negotiation. in terms of the interrogations themselves, i think i spoke
12:30 pm
enough about them. there was a fair amount of just chilling moments. the lack of certainty as to what was about to step was the worse thing because there would be three or four days at a stretch when i just be left in my cell and there was no -- i obviously had no cellmates. i was in solitary. i couldn't get out and get exercise. on the eighth stay i got my one and only 10-minute meeting with the greek ambassador. which was a breath of oxygen. i got moved to a new cell. i was moved from you know quite a rundown, quite of a lived in homey kind of cell into a glittering brand new freshly painted one with really intense lights. the lights were on throughout. but the -- in my home cell, one
12:31 pm
had a 40-watt light. one was intense in your face with reflective mirrors and so on. and also i seemed to be in the middle of a processing center. that's how i started to get a feel of what was happening outside in the streets because there were hundreds of people being brought in every stay. when i would be taken up for interrogation blindfolded, of course, i would stumble through blindfolded people waiting for processing. and then in the waiting cell -- most pee -- i would hear sounds of intense interrogations coming from neighboring cells or from the outside. and then again because we are talking about culture and because i tried to understand culture and i try to speak languages and i try to get across of what places are like, you know, the cultural thing is
12:32 pm
very crucial. i had comments, what do you expect? we are going to tear out your fichter nails? it's very islamic, we are good muslims. we are not going to dig around with you. or jokes some people are saying that there's raping going on here. did you really fear you were going to be raped in this islamically appropriate jail? and this is something that obviously turned 180 degrees around when i came out of jail and i realized -- i started hearing about these allegations being made and seeing the evidence. i started doing a lot of journalism in the country in which i lived, turkey, dealing with former political refugees or people that escaped iran and some had been extremely badly abused. and then one day i was watching an interview given by the iranian feminist activist and
12:33 pm
she said she was taken into a large room like a classroom and there were maybe dozens of desks. those kind of school class kind of desks with the wooden chair and the desk that comes out in front which is all one piece. and there were prisoners sitting on those desks and they were getting very, very violently beaten up by jailers. and this whole scene, dozens of people getting beaten up was in complete silence because those that started shouting would get beaten up more. the beatens would be doubled. so perhaps that explained why all in all i didn't hear much beating going on. but looking ahead a little bit, iran is i think is the understatement -- it is in a state of turmoil. the confiscation of the prize is perhaps the biggest example of just a purely pointless exercise and creating enemies.
12:34 pm
and perhaps it shows us to some extent the mentality of the regime right now. they're in a state of full culture paranoia, sitting back and fighting this perceived western john slaut coming from the outside. and, of course, the opposition is continuing. they don't have the power to go out and take to the streets on a daily basis even though they tried to do it with the anniversary of one killing. you have the student day coming up, a day that's part of the islamic republic's calendar of sort of mass demonstrations, commemorating the students that was part of the iranian revolution against the regime and they will try again to hijack that like they tried to hijack the commemoration of the u.s. embassy storming and also the jerusalem day. we have two different dynamics
12:35 pm
going on, the dynamic of continued opposition, continued crackdown. it seems in the last few days that they've gone now to the next tier and they are starting to round up people whose names came out during the initial interrogation. not the really important ones. in some cases several months ago. but now they're going for really priffial people. they are arresting friends and friends of people. they are putting them under a lot of psychological pressure. you have, of course, the nuclear developments and how this is again you are seeing sort of moves in the nuclear sphere which is the most prized part of iranian foreign policy, they are really akin to taking that reena's nobel peace prize. when you have the islamic republic coming out saying we
12:36 pm
are going to develop several uranium processing centers and possibly step away from the n.p.t., that really shows that pressure is being felt all over. so i'll be very happy to hand this back to jon. >> great. thank you, iason. your perspective on coordinatingiesan's work at the time of the election and since then and your own perspective on where we are today and perhaps we can all address the role that the social media played, twitter at the time of the election. there was a lot of question about this, ue tube and how important -- and youtube and how important that was. >> first, let me thank the wilson center. this is where i wrote my books. it's always wonderful to come back here. and thank you, joan, for the work that you're doing, which really is filling in an
12:37 pm
enormous gap for those of us editors who are trying to fill in our news pages with really interesting and inciteful coverage with a very very limited budget. i always identify with my reporters as a former correspondent. i identified more with iason than with any of my other correspondents. i wanted to be there on the streets with him in iran. i was experiencing, watching it on television, seeing images on facebook, twitter and so on and almost felt like i was there with him the whole time that this was going on. obviously, not the part in prison. although that was a pretty dreadful experience even on our side trying to get him out and trying to figure out what the right words were that we needed to say that impress the iranian government that he was no threat to them and that he was actually would be more of a threat if he was kept than if he were released.
12:38 pm
i think what we witnessed over the last six months has been truly extraordinary. we don't know how long if is going to take for the iranian government to change again in some profound way but clearly the ingredients are all there and the behavior of the government shows that of a relatively weak government, i think, that's struggling to come to terms with unprecedented domestic opposition and unprecedented international opposition. i think iran has never been so isolated really since the iran-iraq war. and the people who are running to the show, to the extent that anybody is running the show now, are veterans of that war and perhaps they identify with that period when iran was virtually alone. had one ally, syria, against the -- what seemed like the entire world against iraq, against the arab countries, against the west which were all in support of sdamsdam against
12:39 pm
iran. and perhaps in -- saddam hussein against iran. and perhaps in a way of people re-creating bad marriages. you go in and repeat the bad pattern. perhaps people are trying to go back to that time when iran was all alone, it was besieged and yet there was this revolutionary spirit. you see it on the campuses where they are trying to re-create this cultural revolution which took place in the early 1980's. you know this is an impossible task. it as iason pointed out, this third generation is very plucked in. iran has, what, 40% internet usage among the population. it's an extraordinary figure. it's the highest in the middle east and one of the highest in the world. 80% lit rass see -- literacy. this is bound to fail. the question is how long will it take, how disruptive will it
12:40 pm
be, how bloody it will be? the question about starting up new uranium enrichment plants seem like bombast. they have not completed one facility. this facility has something like 8,000 centrifuges which half is operable. it may take years before that facility is completed. they have another one which they started that the west found out about in krum which is not operational yet. so for ahmadinejad to talk about starting 10 more, 20 more, whatever, it's really bombast. which is their way of showing the outside world that iran will not be pushed around, iran is not afraid, they can take sanctions and they can continue to move on. they figure that obama will not agree to military action against them, that this administration, this u.s. administration is busy in iraq and afghanistan. and, of course, iran can turn
12:41 pm
up the heat in both those places if it wants. and so they seem to think that they can clamp down on the opposition internally, defy the rest of the world and move on. if the pressure gets so great they can compromise. they ended the iran-iraq war when saddam hussein was still in power. and that is another reference point i think we have to keep in mind. but one thing that is worrysome to me and it's worrisome when i hear him and another one that the minute talt of this particular group. during the iran-iraq war you had one that visited the west. he traveled across the united states in the early 1970's when his brother was a student at berkeley. and i remember interviewing him about it and his impression of the states. one lived in turkey, he had lived in iraq, he had lived in france. many of the important figures in the revolution had been
12:42 pm
educated abroad. and you don't have that with this particular cohort. there are people in the revolutionary guard, members of the force who i met who are relatively sophisticated but their education comes from books. it doesn't come from on-the-ground speeshes in the west. and this -- experience in the west and this is worrisome. it raises the possibility of miscalculation and one wonders how far iran will go before it will perhaps make a compromise and one wonders, also, what measures might be needed in order to convince iran to compromise. so it's a very nerve racking time. i think for those of us who are trying to figure out what's going on in iran now it's particularly difficult. i had a reporter there for some months. actually a young man i found on facebook. and he was told after he wrote about five stories for me that he could no longer write --
12:43 pm
that he needed credentials to write for "the washington times," so we sent all sorts of letters and what not and somehow the credentials never came through. and so that's why i was particularly delighted that iason was able to get his visa. although it came the day before the election, as i recall. so we had iason there. since his experience i've had to cover iran through stories that come out, video that comes out. the killing of neda which i saw on facebook, as so many people. i was sitting at my dining room table and clicked on it and all of a sudden watched this horrific video of this young woman being killed. we have these images that are still coming out of the protest demonstrations, people take the footage with nair cell phone cameras and they smuggle it out. i have a couple of iranian americans who write for me, who call their friends in iran and
12:44 pm
do interviews via skype and on the telephone and through twitter and facebook and we piece this together with what the news agencies are allowed to report from iran and we call this journalism. it's not ideal. it's the best we can do. at some point hopefully the iranian government will open up to foreign correspondents but i have a feeling it's going to be a while yet. certainly everything we've seen in the last few weeks does not fill me with optimism that they are going to open up to this sort of coverage in the near future. so i think i'll stop there and open up to your questions. >> questions? over here. [inaudible] >> how much does the glory of the peshian empire -- persian empire of the past, how often is this talked about directly
12:45 pm
and how much is it referred to indirectly? >> well, iranians in general have a wonderful idea of their own history. the question was about whether iranians are referring to their glorious hitter -- history as a great ancient empire during the elections. there is a fair amount of huberious. they opened up to hundreds of foreign correspondents. they let in people from the daily show with jon stewart, not exactly knowing what they were getting themselves in for. and iason got his visa at the last minute. they opened up hugely and then what they had hoped what happen, of course, didn't happen. they had an election. they appeared to have rigged it. and iranians came out on the streets and demonstrated and protested. and for a week all the images
12:46 pm
coming out of iran were those of a violent crackdown. so this attempt to show that they are the most democratic regime in the region, you know, which they insist is still the case, backfired on them because they overreached. now, this sense of a great civilization is still there and one hopes that it is one check on iranian behavior, there is a limit to however -- how far they will go. this is a new iran and i'm not sure we can count on memories of glory to necessarily produce restraint. do you think there are limits? there are limits in the sense that they are not going to mow people down in the streets with guns even though the foreign correspondents are for forbidden to cover. >> well, they mow people down on the streets after the sermon
12:47 pm
where he asked for people to put a stop to it, the sort of -- >> the death toll is maybe 100, maybe. this is still not a tinmen -- tiananmen-style bloodbath. >> you are never going to have references to what they consider to be an ignorance to pre-islamic past. you do see these elements of sort of persian splendor or the quest. if you read between the lines. so it's very interesting to see if ahmadinejad is a committed islamic man like khomeini claimed to be or both? >> probably a little bit of both. >> if you can identify yourself and where you are from?
12:48 pm
>> i'm jennifer with voice of america. you mentioned, barbara, i believe you said that the iranian regime is bound to fail and you mentioned social media being part of that. to both of you, do you think there is -- it's a new notion that social media can actually bring down a totalitarian regime. >> well, first of all it's not a totalitarian regime, at least not yet. i say it's a -- if it were totalitarian, you wouldn't be seeing these massive demonstrations and people risking their lives every day to continue the protests in the way that they are. they still have space. you know, i don't know how iran's government is going to change. i just know that it is inevitable because 70% of the population is under the age of 30. and they are wired, andes that a factor. will it be the only factor? no. we haven't talked about the economy, the lack of jobs, the fact that iran has the biggest
12:49 pm
brain drain of educated youth in the region. ultimately you will have a young society that will have been connected, at least through social media, to the outside world and will be influenced by it in the way that perhaps this generation is not. but, you know, to make predictions about iran seasoned when and how, you know, is not something i think anybody can do. we can sense the trends. that's probably the most we can do. >> i mean, social media is very quickly -- social media is not a weapon, it's a tool. and what social media does is maximalizes voices. it gives a weight to a minority, it creates networks. so i think to get an answer to that question we need to look no further than what hezbollah
12:50 pm
did in lebanon following the killing of the president at the time and that attempt at a peaceful revolution that happened. well, they just copied the techniques of the peaceful revolutionaries and they did their own peaceful revolution. they paralyzed beirut for more than a year. so i think it's a matter of, you know, from previous decades from the 1980's, the 1990's and the beginning of this decade you really have the advantage. but increasingly sort of repressive regimes are learning this, this tool book and they are using it for their own purposes. >> question here. away from the microphone if you could. >> i'm from voice of america. in your documentary, in your
12:51 pm
opinion, although it was a documentary, but what was the main message? i have another question. during your stay in iran, you must have had the time to talk to the people. what do you think their opinions in regards to how important is the nuclear issue for them as their government claims that it's for the people , what is your opinion on that? >> these are both really difficult questions to answer. i'll start with the sort of the -- what should be the easier one even though i actually sort of took a distance from the documentary before it was broadcast because it focused very heavily on a human interest. i was more interested in doing a big picture current affairs documentary. i don't know what the ultimate message of this documentary is. i really think it's a pretty detailed in depth look at the killing of neda.
12:52 pm
and why i would argue it's flawed, we didn't have access to iran. we didn't have access both sides of the debate. so we managed to peek with caspian, the boyfriend of neda, with the doctor who happened to be on the scene when she was killed, and then we basically spoke with a couple of people who were close or sympathetic to the islamic republic and who could give the official view. but it was very difficult to get conservative voices from within the power structure to get their perspective, let alone speaking to any of them, the missage or the -- the plain clothes who were there that day. with regard to the second question. i think it's very split throughout society. i think it's not a fallacy that the more pressure you put on iran the less popular the program might become. on the other hand, the
12:53 pm
iranians, like the greeks, are very famous for becoming more stubborn when they're pressured. i can't speak for the government. i know one of the defining features of 20th century iranian history is when people get pushed they react. as we're seeing these days. as we saw in 1979. as we saw in 1997. in 1999 -- excuse me so it's difficult to say to what extent society is behind this project or not. as a prestige project, it's great to have nuclear power. it's great to be up there with the top 10. once you get down to the nitty gritty i think you start to see differentiations. and that's the story of iran. the great mighty full-blown ideals and when you get down to the nitty gritty there are a lot of questions that come up that haven't been thought of before and the example is the
12:54 pm
actual islamic republic when people voted in 1979 and voted so overwhelmingly by most accounts was not a rigged election. they had no idea what they were voting for. they had not heard the word "cultural revolution" yet. >> question back here. >> thank you. yes, i want to get a sense of during the early days of protest with the government essentially controlling the texting was down and such, how much of the protest movement was planned? how did people get the word around as to where to meet and what to do and what to say? particularly after the second and third day when it continued. i'm very much interested on how much of that was planned ahead of time. >> great. that's one of the few things i
12:55 pm
can talk about because that was the things i was doing there, running around the streets with friends and figuring out what was going on. and that was the many accusations against me, that i engaged in espionage and creating a velvet revolution. i had no idea what was going on. i did give the key to my facebook to a close friend of mine who would copy, paste -- she doesn't speak farcy but she would tweet and send messages and email them to me. that was when i was back home. when i was actually out on the street, well, when we had cell phone reception, some friends, relatives would call in from dubai as far away from canada and telling the latest from the media or what the media was saying.
12:56 pm
and then you had the wrong information or the sort of purposely wrong information where it seems that several dem on strations were arranged in a way by the government or by government agents and then funneled into the opposition mainstream so that people would gather in places that are basically being staked out. and so you had this sort of confusing flurry of don't trust these coordinated or don't go there or it's counseled or not counseled. the speed at which the information was going through, even when we were on the streets, the amount of rumors going about was astonishing. he's under house arrest. no. he's at the metro station. they shot town half of the metro station. a nearby mosque took off his religious sort of headscarf and threw it down in protest. that was the rumor that i heard
12:57 pm
on the monday, the day of the biggest demonstration, literally seconds before that demonstration just kind of coalesced into one very packed sort of body and march. up until then it had been disbursed, fragments people looking at the police and wondering if this demonstration is happening or not. but this rumored swept through the people and then suddenly we saw a demonstration emerge. so it was very confusing. i think to a large extent it was organic. to the point where there was organization on saturday, as we were going around tehran around the minister, we saw people passing around and giving you a touch on the shoulder, tomorrow at 9:30. sort of different but very often it just went back to 1979 techniques. people would write on the walls, tomorrow at 5:00.
12:58 pm
for all your twitter and for all your messages, it just went back to 1979. >> the chaos and confusion and misinformation, none of that is new in situations like this. i think what was different was the speed with which it was reported around the world . it was on cnn and everywhere else. i'm interested in your take in having come back, once you got back to the west, to europe and the states, seeing how it was portrayed. was the real story portrayed and when and by whom and, barbara, your sense of being in the middle of that, editying that day by day -- editing that day by day and seeing this mores a of material coming in? >> i think i was on the phone with barbara about 30 minutes after i was at the ministry. saying i've seen this. but, you know, i'm embarrassed to say this, it's true, i'm not
12:59 pm
sure i am going to report it first because i got four days left on my visa, five days left on my visa. and i really don't care to have this exclusive 20 minutes before a.p. reports it. i'd rather just stay in the country. so there were all sorts of journalistic sort of ethics questions. >> that's darche issue. that's where you know something. you saw it with your own eyes. that's sort of playing the short term breaking story to the long term being there a few more days. but i'm talking about sort of looking at the misinformation, the confusion and then seeing that being reported, it's out there and it's broadcast, people know about it around the world. how do you -- you can't put it back in the bottle. how do you bring perspective to that sort of material? >> really, i can just sort of say people whose coverage, i like scott peterson for the christian science monitor, roger cohen

35 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on